Trump triumphs, Republican Party implodes
As expected, Donald Trump won most of the primary and caucus elections on Super Tuesday (March 1), and he followed that up by winning four out of five states two weeks later, on March 15. John Kasich won his home state of Ohio, surviving his big life-or-death test, whereas Rubio failed his test in his home state of Florida. At this point, Trump enjoys a big lead in delegates over Ted Cruz (see below), and it all boils down to three remaining big states: New York (April 19), Pennsylvania (April 26), and California (June 7). Trump will probably wrap up the race and secure the nomination by June, over a month before the Republican convention in Cleveland.
Or maybe not. The opposition to Trump is so strong that some "establishment" Republicans such as Lindsey Graham have resorted to endorsing Cruz as the lesser of two evils in trying to stop Trump. To me that shows a lack of integrity. As George Will wrote in Washington Post, such opportunism will hurt those politicians' reputations. I disagree with the "pragmatists." Cruz can't get a majority of delegates via primaries and caucuses, so the only way he can win is on a second (or later) ballot, which is the same position Kasich is in. These are truly desperate times we live in, and desperate measures are needed. The Grand Old Party is cracking wide open before our eyes, and frankly a lot of Trump and Cruz supporters actually want it that way.
Rubio drops out, field narrows to 3
Back in January, few people could have imagined that Marco Rubio and Chris Christie would drop out of the race before John Kasich, but as I wrote after the New Hampshire primary, Kasich was (and remains) the only remaining viable Republican candidate who can win in November. That puts me in an odd position, because I really didn't expect Kasich to have much of a shot at the nomination, and now he's the only sane candidate left. Along those lines, Independent Journal lists "4 Reasons #NeverTrump Conservatives Should Stop Telling John Kasich to Drop Out of the 2016 Race"
As the campaign has progressed, my view of Trump has only worsened. Anyone who threatens or even implies violence if he doesn't get his way is a menace to civilized democratic politics. Granted, as Charles Krauthammer (no fan of Trump) wrote in his March 17 Washington Post column, the protesters disrupting Trump rallies earlier this month are just as much to blame for the fascist style of political agitation. But Trump is simply beyond the pale, and I am now considering whether I might vote for Cruz in the November if he gets nominated. Indeed, when I took one of those Facebook polls a few months ago, I was appalled to see that my supposed candidate (based on the issues) was Ted Cruz. I don't agree with Kasich about every issue, most notably his support of a compromise measure in Ohio under which Medicaid was expanded as part of Obamacare. I read somebody disparaging Kasich for favoring "amnesty" for illegal aliens recently, and that is just stupid. Kasich has made it clear that the path to full citizenship should be contingent upon the immigrant waiting in line behind others who have already applied for legal status, and upon full payment of back taxes. For most illegal immigrants, that is just not feasible, and in my mind that means they should leave.
Anyway, you can read about John Kasich's position on the major issues at johnkasich.com.
MAKE AMERICA SANE AGAIN!
Do I expect Kasich to win? No, of course not. He's probably got about a ten percent chance at best, but at least there is a shred of hope to cling to. For me, one of the biggest ironies that the "anti-establishment" crowd rallies around a sitting U.S. senator whose political ambitions are transparent, and a billionaire who is the very epitome of crony capitalism, while the other candidate -- Kasich -- has not served in Washington for well over a decade.
Sanders bounces back
On the Democratic side, after getting thrashed by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders bounced back tonight, winning Alaska and Washington (state) by HUGE (!) margins: 73%-27% and 82%-18%, respectively. There's very little chance that he'll get the nomination, but the more pressure he (and perhaps the Justice Department) put on her, the better the chances for the Republicans this fall.
As a possible sign of better luck to come, a wild bird landed on the podium where Sanders was speaking in Portland Oregon today, briefly interrupting his speech. After it flew away, he said it was the dove of peace, or something like that. See youtube.com.
Delegate race scoreboard
At Sweet Briar College, I posted a big spreadsheet on the wall, showing the delegates won by each candidate in each state that has had a primary election or caucus thus far. I'll post that on this Web site in the next couple days. In the mean time, here are the current totals:
|Democratic candidates||# of delegates||Republican candidates||# of delegates|
|H. Clinton||1,703||D. Trump||739|
|B. Sanders||985||T. Cruz||465|
|Martin O'Malley||0||J. Kasich||143|
|Needed for Nomination||2,383||Needed for Nomination||1,237|
Romney rallies the "Establishment"
Mitt Romney made a speech right after Trump's Super Tuesday triumph, calling Trump "A con man, a fake," among other things. This was at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, where Mormons predominate. See youtube.com. As I wrote about this on Facebook, "Trump is a complete fraud, and the scary thing is that many of his supporters don't even care."
For the record, Romney (who is widely considered a "RINO" by the grassroots activists who support Trump and Cruz) was my initial second favorite GOP candidate four years ago, when the 2012 primary season was getting started. I expressed a favorable view of Chris Christie, but he had already decided not to run.
Virginia primary election results
For the record, here are the results from the Virginia primary election on March 1. Of particular note is the close margin (under three percent) between the winner (Trump) and the second-place candidate (Rubio). In one sense, it is true that if just half of Kasich voters had sided with Rubio instead, he would have beaten Donald Trump, and that might have changed the whole complexion of the race. We'll never know for sure...
|2557 precincts of 2557 (100.00%) reporting|
|Chris Christie (Withdrawn)||1,103||0.1%||0|
|Carly Fiorina (Withdrawn)||915||0.1%||0|
|Rick Santorum (Withdrawn)||504||0.1%||0|
|Lindsey Graham (Withdrawn)||444||0.0%||0|
SOURCE: virginia.gov (State Board of Elections)
If it weren't for Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham being on the ballot, Jim Gilmore would have finished dead last in his own home state. Ouch!
Here in Staunton, Marco Rubio beat Donald Trump, with 1,025 votes compared to 998 votes.